Pacquiao/Cotto: Freddie's Right – Only One Pac Man in Our Life Time!
By Paul Strauss - Manny Pacquiao is such an oddity. There's isn't anyone fighting now like him, and it's a safe bet there never has been anyone like him, including Hammering Hank. The Pac Man can do things no one else in boxing can do, and probably shouldn't try to do. His ability isn't just skill. It's more of gift, something with which only he has been rewarded.
Initially in his matchup with Miguel Cotto it appeared Cotto might be able to give Manny a going over. Cotto was able to land a good solid jab and some hard body shots. He looked bigger, stronger and menacing. He seemed to be very confident and comfortable in the early going. Manny landed some shots as well, but Miguel avoided most and countered well.
Then just when it seemed like Cotto had decided to step things up a bit more in the third round......bam! He got nailed with a right hook. The punch didn't even land on the chin. It connected more to the side of the head, but Manny's heavy handed punch still put down the stocky Miguel. Cotto seemed more surprised than hurt, but he was a bit more cautious with his aggressiveness in the remaining moments of the round..
In round four, Miguel resumed his attack, and once again used a good jab, and tried to drive Manny back, hoping to get him stationary against the ropes, so he good unload on him with body shots. It looked like he might get his wish, and just as he was again pressing the action.......crunch! This time it was a beautiful shovel hook, which caught Miguel right on the chin. The angle of the punch was perfect, taking advantage of the bent over Miguel, who had gloves along both sides of his head. This time when Miguel went down, he was hurt and befuddled.
Cotto remained dangerous though until about the eighth round. Until that time, he would still show flashes of aggression as he would occasionally land some hard shots. His good jab some times got through and would snap Manny's head back, and every once in a while he would also catch Manny with a lead right.
In several of the rounds, it appeared Manny purposely would take a break, and let Miguel tee off on his body, which I'm sure didn't please Manny's corner. Everyone knows Miguel has one of the best left hooks to the body of any fighter today. But, Manny seemed to take the punches well, and even when a few shots got through his defense, he would do what has become kind of a trade mark with him, and that is to step back a bit and tap his gloves together as a sign of, "Okay, that was pretty good, let's get it on!" That's usually not a good thing for his opponents to see, and Miguel was no exception.
At just about any given moment of Manny's choosing he would explode in a blur, and fire off multiple shots. First, they would be coming in straight lines, then from the side, and from underneath. The phenomenal thing about what Manny does in these moments is to not just move his upper body, but his feet too. There's never been anyone I can recall who has the ability to punch with tremendous power while literally being on the move. It's incredible!
Even when you see it, you know it's not physically possible for someone to do it. But, then when his attack subsides and he steps back, you seen the lumps and cuts starting to form on his opponent's face. You wonder, "How the hell did he just do that?" It's against the laws of physics. Don't you have to be set to punch effectively and especially with power? Henry "Hammering Hank" Armstrong couldn't do that. He was a lot more one dimensional in your chest type of fighter. He always tried to wear down his opponents with volume punching pressure, smothering their shots with his close quarters attack. But, he didn't have Manny's power, speed, or versatility.
In watching Manny over the years, it has become apparent that Freddie Roach helped him become more of a complete fighter. He taught Manny how to use his jab more and develope a great right hook. He also helped Manny improve his defense. But, Manny has been able to take those lessons, and couple them with his ability to defy the laws of nature. No, he can't fly, but he comes damn close to it. It almost seems like he can run at and around his opponent when attacking. There have been other fighters like that, but they're bothersome gnats or insects, buzzing in and out and getting swatted around for their trouble.
Manny is more like a modern day secret weapon, but in his case there are no schematics to study to figure out how it's done. If you're a trainer and you try to have your fighter imitate him, chances are you will get him knocked out. You're just not supposed to be able to do some of the things he is able to do. He jumps in. He repeatedly fires off long lead lefts. He crosses his feet, but not in an awkward fashion. It's more like a calculated run. Call it a cavalry charge with his fists being the heavily armed soldiers, and there you are with just a bow and arrow. Holy crap you think! What's happening here, and why am I on the canvas? Well, by 55 seconds of round twelve, referee Kenny Bayless had seen enough and waived the white flag.
Does all this mean Manny can beat Floyd Mayweather, Jr? Not necessarily, but one thing is for sure. He will do some things Little Money has never seen or experienced. But, of course, Floyd is a phenom in his own right. The hype for that mega matchup renewed itself with vigor after the closing bell of Saturday nights fight at the MGM in Las Vegas. By the time the chatter settles, there might be a new PPV record.
Article posted on 16.11.2009